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Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card Review – 20K Bonus Points

By Christina Majaski

Reviewed by:
Rating:
4
On January 21, 2014
Last modified:January 28, 2014

citi thankyou preferred cardCredit card rewards programs often provide miles, cash back, or points in exchange for purchases made. The ThankYou Points program, included with the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card, rewards cardholders with points that can later be redeemed for travel, cash back, and merchandise. The Citi ThankYou Points program could be the best rewards program for you – especially if you spend regularly on dining and entertainment.

Features

  • Sign-up Bonus. You earn 20,000 bonus ThankYou Points after you spend $1,500 in purchases in the first three months of opening the account. These points can be redeemed for cash and merchandise, and are equal to $200 in gift cards or airline travel.
  • Fees. There is no annual fee for the Citi ThankYou Preferred card. The balance transfer fee is $5 or 3%, and the foreign transaction fee is 3%.
  • APR. There is an introductory APR of 0% on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months from the date the account is opened. After that, the APR is 12.99%, 17.99%, or 22.99%, and is based on your credit worthiness and variations in the prime rate. Balance transfers are 0% for 12 months from the date of the first transfer within four months of opening the account.
  • ThankYou Points. The Citi ThankYou Preferred card rewards purchases with ThankYou points. You earn two points per dollar on dining at restaurants and entertainment purchases, and one point per dollar on everything else. You can earn an unlimited amount of points, which do not expire. ThankYou Points can be redeemed for gift cards, cash, merchandise, travel rewards, and entertainment. The value of points varies depending on what you redeem them for, but for gift cards, it is generally one cent per point. You are also able to earn bonus points in the ThankYou Bonus Center, which is made up of more than 600 local and national retailers that allow you the opportunity to earn bonus points when shopping online. On average, these retailers award four ThankYou points per dollar spent.
  • Citi Price Rewind. The Citi ThankYou Preferred card provides Citi Price Rewind, which tracks online prices for purchases made with the card for 30 days. When you register your purchase with Citi Price Rewind, the online prices for that purchase are tracked for 30 days, and if a lower price is found, you receive the difference back (must be at least $25). These refunds are limited to $250 per item and $1,000 per calendar year.
  • Chip Technology. The Citi ThankYou Preferred card includes an embedded microchip that encrypts your information and makes hacking, card cloning, and fraud more difficult.
  • No Preset Spending Limit. The Citi ThankYou Preferred card has a revolving credit limit, but allows flexible spending similar to that of a charge card. You are able to exceed the credit limit on the card, but each month you must pay in full any amount over the credit limit.

Advantages

  1. 0% APR for 12 Months. The 12-month 0% introductory APR is very competitive with other rewards cards.
  2. 20,000 Bonus Points. The bonus points earned when you open the account are equal to about $200 if you redeem them for gift cards.
  3. Extra Points for Food and Entertainment. Bonus points are earned on restaurant purchases and entertainment, a category that covers almost anything you can think of doing for fun. Although it depends on the code your merchant uses, restaurant purchases generally include fast food, fine dining, and even cocktail lounges and nightclubs. Entertainment purchases include live performances, concerts, movie theaters, amusement parks, zoos and museums, record stores, and even video rentals.
  4. Flexible Spending Limit. The Citi ThankYou Preferred card allows somewhat of a flexible spending limit. If you ever run into an emergency, you are able to charge over the credit limit without any fees as long as you pay the excess in full by the next billing cycle.
  5. Chip Technology. Chip technology helps prevent credit card fraud and is particularly handy in parts of Europe where only chipped cards, rather than regular swipe cards, are accepted by most retailers.

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Disadvantages

  1. Bonus Point Categories Are Limited. It is nice to find a card that rewards bonus points for restaurant and entertainment purchases without the hassle of rotating categories; however, extra points are only rewarded on restaurant and entertainment purchases. Any purchases made, for example, on travel, groceries, everyday expenses, or other shopping, only earn one point per dollar.
  2. Foreign Transaction Fees. The card comes with chip technology, which is handy overseas – however, if you plan to use the Citi ThankYou Preferred card outside of the United States, you are charged a foreign transaction fee of 3%. While this fee usually ranges from 1% to 3% with other cards, it is fairly common with Citibank credit cards, and is almost always at the top end of the spectrum at 3%. Discover and Capital One, on the other hand, have eliminated foreign transaction fees and should be considered if you travel abroad frequently.
  3. High APR. The introductory APR of 0% is offered for 12 months on balance transfers and purchases, but the lowest available APR of 12.99%, offered after the introductory period, is a bit high. It is important with rewards cards that you pay your balance in full as often as possible in order to maximize the rewards potential. If you don’t plan to pay your balance in full at least most of the time, it’s best to skip the rewards and instead choose a low-interest credit card.
  4. Low Return for Cash. You earn the best redemption rate by redeeming your points for gift cards, which give you about one cent per point. However, if you prefer cash you can redeem 8,000 points for $50, which gives each point a value of 0.625 cents. If you prefer cash for your rewards, you should instead consider a cash-back card such as Chase Freedom, which rewards 5% cash back in rotating categories and can be redeemed in $20 increments.

Final Word

If you eat out often and participate in the many entertainment options available, you can earn bonus ThankYou points which can be redeemed in a variety of ways. You also receive 20,000 bonus points for signing up with a card that has no annual fee, and you are also able to take advantage of a 0% APR for 12 months. However, if you travel frequently outside of the United States or intend to carry a balance for longer than 12 months, it would be better to choose a credit card with no foreign transaction fee and a low interest rate.

Verdict

The Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card is great for its 0% introductory APR and its ability to earn points on restaurant and entertainment purchases. However, it is not an ideal card if you travel outside of the U.S. often, do not eat out, or do not frequent entertainment venues.

Score

4.0 out of 5 stars: The Citi ThankYou Preferred Credit Card is a great no-annual fee card with a 0% introductory APR and a sign-up bonus, but the rewards program is a bit limited.

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Christina Majaski
Christina Majaski has written for online and print publications since 2003 on topics related to personal finance, legal matters, parenting, and careers. She lives in the Minnesota tundra, where in her free time she enjoys reading, writing, interacting via social media, and hanging out with her daughter.

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